Football Not in the Cards for Babalola

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON -- It appears Olu Babalola's football career was a short one.

The former Clemson basketball player has said he is pursuing a pro basketball career and will most likely not return for football practice which is set to begin on August 4.

Babalola, who finished his basketball career at Clemson last March, spent the last two weeks of spring practice with Tommy Bowden's football team where he worked a little bit at the "bandit" end position on defense and tight end with the offense. If he decided to come back to play football, Babalola would have had one-year of eligibility to play according to NCAA rules.

An ankle injury sidelined him for most of spring workouts, and he sat out the annual Orange and White game. He barely participated in any contact drills.

The 6-foot-5, 240-pound London, England native said he had every intention to play football and his heart was definitely in it. However, offers from overseas were too good for him to pass up.

Basketball teams from France, Spain and Italy have offered Babalola anywhere from $200,000 to $400,000 to play. He has also worked out for the Charlotte Bobcats and the Atlanta Hawks. Neither, however, has invited Babalola to play for one of their summer league teams.

Babalola started 65 basketball games for the Tigers over the last four years and concluded his career with 694 points and 363 rebounds in 108 games. He shot 70 percent from the foul line and averaged 6.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.

This past season he was the fourth leading scorer for Oliver Purnell's Tigers which advanced to the NIT. He scored 6.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in helping Clemson to its first post season appearance in six years.

Though Babalola's basketball and football careers appear to be over at Clemson, his academic career isn't. He said he plans on returning to school next summer to graduate. He said that is all his mother has asked of him and he plans on fulfilling his mother's wishes.

If Babalola had started fall practice with the Tigers, he would have been counted toward the football team's 85-man scholarship limit.

Will Vandervort is the Sports Editor for the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger.

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